Many people claim that we live in the golden age of online dating. And it’s hard to argue with that. The largest players in the dating industry continue to grow rapidly, and the dating industry itself brings in more and more money every year. For clarity, we can offer statistics on the income of dating services around the world over the past five years according to BusinessOfApps:
- 2017 — 1.75 billion dollars.
- 2018 — 2.38 billion dollars.
- 2019 — 2.97 billion dollars.
- 2020 — 3.82 billion dollars.
- 2021 — 5.61 billion dollars.
It is currently 2022 as we write this article. But it is already clear that the financial record will once again be beaten.
Today, there are about 8,000 dating sites around the world. Among them there are both large world famous players and niche sites with a very small audience. It’s logical that the most popular services showed the highest growth rates. We’d like to look at those further.
The surge in popularity of dating services during the pandemic, and their prospects for the future
To better understand how much interest in dating services grew during the Covid-19 pandemic, just look at the statistics of Tinder, Badoo, Bumble, Happn and Plenty of Fish in 2020:
- App installs — +4%
- User spending on paid services and features — +15%
- Growth in the number of messages sent — from 10% to 25% depending on the country
The big players in the dating industry are indeed experiencing unprecedented audience growth. Less well-known sites also note a significant increase, albeit not so seismic. Interestingly, the most active audience was and remains in those countries where the situation with the pandemic turned out to be especially tough. First of all in Italy, Spain, the United States of America, and partly in China. This makes sense, because the less opportunities a person has to maintain social connections offline, the more actively they search for them on the web.
Many dating sites are just duplicates of each other
Above we said that there are more than eight thousand dating sites and applications on the web. But this figure is not all it seems. If we study online dating and analyze specific services, we will see that many of them are sites already familiar to us, just in a different wrapper. Now let’s explain why this is the case.
When you use multiple dating sites, it is possible that you’re just seeing an illusion of choice and variety. The fact is that today there are almost no completely self-sufficient and independent dating sites. Most popular services are part of larger corporations. Here are just a few examples:
- Match Group Corporation: Tinder, Hinge, POF, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish and more.
- Spark Group of Companies: eDarling, Zoosk, SilverSingles, EliteSingles, Christian Mingle.
- Badoo, Bumble, and Fruitz are also sister projects that are being worked on by the same developers.
It’s easy to see why large corporations in the web dating industry would take this approach — to increase the reach of users and crowd out competitors. For example, a person has been using Tinder for a long time and sees that the site does not give him any special hopes of a match. He looks for an alternative and chooses, for example, Hinge. It seems to him that this is a completely different site with different algorithms and audience. But in reality, the sites turn are very similar, and the user himself continues to send money to the same large Match Group corporation.
If you really want to find an alternative to an ineffective dating site, we advise you to change the communication format itself. For example, switch to random video chat. Such sites, as a rule, are more independent and do not belong to large corporations. But most importantly, the dating mechanics here are completely different.
Omegle and Co: a worthy alternative to dating sites and apps
Omegle is one of the oldest and most popular random video chat sites in the world. During the pandemic, the number of site users increased by two or three times. If in 2019 there were usually 10-15,000 users online, in 2021-2022 it grew to 30,000 or more.
Omegle rivals also showed rapid growth rates:
- Chatroulette — the closest alternative to Omegle and another one of the pioneers among video chats. The site has long suffered from an abundance of bots, Internet trolls, and exhibitionists, but in 2020, the developers seriously started on its modernization. An artificial intelligence system was introduced, the task of which is to detect and ban all violators of the rules for using Chatroulette. Admittedly, the AI works quite well, but you should still use Chatroulette with caution.
- CooMeet — a fast and convenient video chat, a real find for those who need an Omegle alternative site with a working gender filter. The key feature is that every girl, when registering at CooMeet, must verify her identity. And then the system connects men only with verified girls. Forget about fakes and bots, which are still plentiful on Omegle and Chatroulette.
- Chatrandom — another good alternative to Omegle with one important feature. There are themed chat rooms here — sections of the site on different subjects, in which users can communicate in groups. Chatrandom also has a gender filter, but it’s less accurate than CooMeet. And on Omegle and Chatroulette, by the way, there is no gender filter at all.
It is noteworthy that especially great interest in random video chat arose during the pandemic, although the format is far from new. The first chatroulettes began to appear in 2009, and now it seems they have reached the peak of their popularity.
In many ways, random video chat apps are even better than classic dating sites and apps. For example, they are a great time saver, and they do not collect much of your data, if any, providing more security. In addition, video chats are easier to learn and are suitable even for those people who are not very good at surfing the internet, but want to make new friends.
The online dating industry will be modernized
It can be said with confidence that the biggest players in the dating industry will definitely not go anywhere and will continue to develop. It would be very difficult to force them out now, even for interesting and unusual projects. But difficult does not mean impossible.
New startups in this niche appear regularly. Some of them become very successful. And although it is still difficult for them to compete with Tinder or Omegle, the audience around them is going to be quite large. This, of course, is not enough to insist that in just a couple of years someone will be able to challenge the market leaders. But after a little longer, it could be quite possible.
Finally, we’d like to advise you to take a closer look at new Tinder and Omegle alternatives. In many aspects, they are already much better than their predecessors. And in the future they may well radically change the very format of online dating.
In any case, we wish you only interesting and pleasant interactions on the Internet. The world is much bigger than it seems. You just need to take a step forward to see it!